Research by Dr. Arnon Groiss.
Since 2000, Dr. Arnon Groiss has examined the new school books which were put in use by the PA and UNRWA between 2000 and 2006m with the generous funding of the US, Canada, Scandanavia, Australia and the EU.
These new PA/UNWRA school books can only be described as “war education”, devoid of any hint of peace advocacy.
The time has come to ask Belgium, which prints the PA/UNRWA school books, and the donor nations, which fund PA/UNRWA education, to introduce changes in PA/UNRWA school books which would conform with peace advocacy policies that are promoted by the US, the EU and all other donor nations.
Belgium and all donor nations should implement with the new
- Avoid De-legitimization of Israel & the Jewish Presence in the country
- Every map that shows today’s political boundaries in the region should mark Israel’s pre-1967 territory by the name “Israel”. Such a territory must not be left un-named and certainly should not be named “Palestine”, as that constitutes a distortion of the present situation on the ground.
- Israel should be presented as an ordinary sovereign state in every text mentioning all the region’s states.
- Every reference to a region, settlement or site within Israel’s pre-1967 borders must not describe such a region, settlement or site as exclusively Palestinian.
5.Every discussion within the books of the holy places in the country should refer to the Jewish holy places alongside the Muslim and Christian ones. Any reference to a place which happens to be sacred to Jews (such as the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem) should state that fact.
6.Any discussion of subjects related to population and demography issues in the country should include the 6 million Jews living there. Any map that shows cities in the country should include the important Jewish cities as well (such as Tel Aviv, Eilat, Ashdod, etc.). The books should not use circumlocutions such as “the lands of 48”, “the Interior” or “the Green Line” instead of the phrase “Israeli territory”.
7.Historical documents should not be falsified (the British Mandate stamp, for example, that has been reproduced in one of the schoolbooks).
8.Avoid Demonization of Israel and Jews: Schoolbooks should not include pieces which virulently demonize Israel/Jews, or de-humanize them, or any description that goes beyond the presentation of Israel and/or the Jews as an ordinary adversary with its own rights, interests and positions.
- It is much desired to add to the books the still non-existent material that deals with Israel and the Jews objectively (for example, pieces that talk about the Israeli government structure, economy, science and technology, the Hebrew culture, Jewish history, etc.), which might balance the enormous anti-Israeli critical material in the books.
- It is crucially important to stress in the books that, in spite of the war, the Jewish/Israeli individual is also a human being, apart from being an adversary, and should be treated accordingly.
Peace Advocacy instead of Violence, Jihad & Martyrdom
- Books should emphasize that peace is a strategic choice and that negotiations are the only way to achieving a solution to the conflict.
2.Books should refrain from any presentation of an armed or violent struggle as a means for attaining a solution to the conflict.
3.Islamic notions of Jihad and martyrdom should be mentioned in the historical context only and not as part of today’s reality.
- Discussion of “Nakbah” should stress the fact that the Nakbah resulted from a war initiated by the Arab League, and not from a motivation of Jewish aggression, contrary to what is said today in the PA books.
- Within this context, Palestinian children should be taught to recognize their shared responsibility for past events and not restrict that to the adversary alone. Example: the so-called “Separation Wall” which was built for defending the Israeli population against suicide bombing attacks by Palestinians.
- The so-called “Right of Return” should be presented as a demand representing the Palestinian party’s position regarding the solution of what is termed “the Refugee Problem” while the solution itself will be attained in the framework of the negotiations between the two parties and on the basis of a mutual agreement only.